The Russian Volunteer Corps group launched an attack on and administrative building in the town of Shebekino in the Belgorod region today (June 1). According to local reports, one of the shells hit the bus on which people were evacuated.
According to Mash, one person died and several others were injured.
The region’s Governor, Vyacheslav Gladkov said: “In many posts, information appeared that there was one dead and two injured on the bus. The information is not confirmed either by the head of the district or by the ambulance team that examined the bus – it is empty.”
Claiming responsibility for the attack, Russian Volunteer Corps wrote on Telegram: “According to the Shebekino Ministry of Internal Affairs, the “Fortress” plan was announced. The “valiant” defenders of Putin’s gang, following the protocol, gathered in the administration building.
“We told them to get together and “covered” with packages of GRADOV. The result is already known, even in Z-smy) We thank the local population for the important timely information!”
The group had already pre-announced the attack in a video on Wednesday.
A similar group that calls itself the Freedom of Russia Legion also announced a plan to launch a cross-border raid.
Gladkov said that Ukrainian shelling left eight people wounded overnight but said there had been no incursion by enemy forces.
Some Russian media outlets said that Ukrainian forces made an attempt to cross the border but were repelled by Russian troops.
READ MORE: Two children among three killed in latest Russian bombardment of Kyiv
The Russian MOD has since denied any major damage was done and the rebel fighters were fought off quickly by Russian troops, branding them a ‘Ukrainian terrorist group’.
In a statement they wrote: “This morning, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, jointly with units of the Federal Border Guard Service of Russia and other units of the Russian Federal Security Service, have foiled a new attempt by the Kiev regime to carry out a terrorist attack against the civilian population of Shchebekino (Belgorod region).
“At around 3:00 a.m. Moscow time, after intense shelling of civilian facilities in Belgorod region, Ukrainian terrorist groups with up to two motorised infantry companies reinforced with tanks attempted to invade Russian territory near Novaya Tavolzhanka and the Shebekino international road checkpoint.”
The statement continued that the three attacks by the ‘terrorists’ were ‘repelled by Russian servicemen’. Russia insisted the units ‘suffered significant losses’ but did not elaborate what that meant, other than to say the 30 fighters and six vehicles were ‘neutralised’ on the Ukrainian side.
After previous attacks, Kyiv has denied any involvement in the attacks in Russia.
The RVC and the Freedom of Russia Legion claimed responsibility for a cross-border raid last month, that marked one of the most serious such attacks on the Russian territory engaging in fighting with Russian forces that prompted authorities to evacuate residents of a town near the border.
Some observers saw the raids as part of Ukrainian efforts to probe Russian defences and distract Moscow’s military resources ahead of a planned Ukrainian counteroffensive.
In Ukraine, Ukrainian air defences shot down all 10 cruise and ballistic missiles launched by the Kremlin’s forces, but falling debris caused damage and casualties on the ground, wounding 16 people.
Russia has kept up a steady barrage on the Ukrainian capital and other parts of the country in recent weeks as Kyiv readies what it says is a counteroffensive to push back Moscow’s troops, 15 months after their full-scale invasion. Kyiv was the target of a reported 17 drone and missile attacks last month.